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Implant vs. Bridge

When a tooth is lost it should be replaced.   All teeth are important. Often it is difficult to decide whether to have your dentist replace your missing tooth with a bridge or an implant.   Both methods are good but both have different advantages and disadvantages.

A bridge is made by using the teeth next to the missing tooth as anchors. The teeth next to the missing tooth are altered by the dentist by taking away some of the tooth structure the same way as a tooth is prepared for a crown (cap).

A bridge is made by joining the missing tooth to the capped teeth to form one piece, and is then cemented in place.

The advantages of bridges are:
1. Most dentists have the knowledge to make them
2. They can be made quickly
3. They usually provide good esthetics

The disadvantages of bridges are:
1. The anchor teeth which may have no fillings are permanently altered and may be eventually lost due to the capping process
2. The capped teeth may get decay where the cap meets the tooth
3. If any part of the bridge fails, the whole bridge often fails involving more than one tooth

Implants are artificial roots that are placed in the bone. The dentist then adds a crown to the implant.

Advantages of Implants are:
1. Other teeth in the mouth are not altered as occurs with a bridge
2. Only the space where the missing tooth is lost is involved in the treatment
3. Implants help to preserve the bone in the area where they are placed

Disadvantages of Dental Implants are:
1. Fewer dentists are trained to provide this service
2. Dental implants take longer to complete than a bridge
The choice between a bridge and an implant depends on several factors for your specific situation. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages can help you make the right decision.
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